Published May 14, 2009As the release of Manic Street Preachers' Journal for Plague Lovers quickly approaches, four major UK supermarkets are censoring the album cover after deeming it too offensive for customers.
The record features a 2005 painting by artist Jenny Saville called Stare (pictured above), which depicts a young boy with a red birthmark on one side of his face. However, Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons will only sell the record if a slip cover is used to hide the image because the supermarkets worry the red on the painting looks like splattered blood.
In a recent interview with BBC6music, Manics member James Dean Bradfield said the band are baffled and angered by the decision to censor the cover.
"[The decision] is utterly bizarre... It's [Saville's] brushwork," he said. "If you're familiar with her work, there's a lot of ochres and browns and reds and browns and perhaps people are looking for us to be more provocative than we are being. We just thought it was a beautiful painting. We were all in total agreement. We just saw a much more modern version of Lucian Freud-esque brushstrokes. That's all we saw."
The 40-year-old added: "You can have lovely shiny buttocks and guns everywhere in the supermarket on covers of magazines and CDs, but you show a piece of art and people just freak out. It's the first time ever that we actually feel controlled by the idea, which basically stemmed from Richey [Edwards]'s words. So we're not going to censor it or anything, because it is what it is.
"It is bizarre that supermarkets actually think that that's going to impinge on anyone's psyche."
As previously reported, the Steve Albini-produced Journal for Plague Lovers features lyrics written by former and now "presumed dead" Manics member, Richey Edwards. Saville previously worked with the Manics on their last album done with Edwards, 1994's Holy Bible.
Journal for Plague Lovers is due out May 18 in the UK, with or without a censoring slip case.